The HSW Literary Agency


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An Evening of Celebration with Richard Scarsbrook

In celebration of his recent White Pine Award-win for The Monkeyface Chronicles, Richard Scarsbrook will take to the stage of Toronto’s Green Door Cabaret. The Featherless Bipeds, named for Richard’s 2006 YA novel, will join him in an evening that promises a winning combination of story and song. According to Richard, proceeds from the event will help to support some of the projects run by the Lower Ossington Theatre, including Toronto Youth Theatre.

  • What: An evening with Richard Scarsbrook and The Featherless Bipeds.
  • When: Friday, June 17, 2011 at 10:30 p.m.
  • Where: Green Door Cabaret, Lower Ossington Theatre, 100A Ossington Avenue, Toronto, ON
  • How: Tickets are available online.
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OLA’s 2011 White Pine Award to Richard Scarsbrook!

Scarsbrook Monkeyface AuthorWhite Pine WinnerThe HSW Literary Agency is thrilled to report that Richard Scarsbrook‘s The Monkeyface Chronicles (Thistledown Press 2010) has won the Ontario Library Association’s 2011 White Pine Award! The announcement was made earlier this afternoon at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre during the first day of the OLA’s two-day Forest of Reading Festival of Trees, and marks the first OLA award-win for Richard, who was previously nominated in 2005 for Cheeseburger Subversive. The list of Forest of Reading winners is available here.

Congratulations, Richard, on this richly deserved recognition!

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How does one follow up a Commonwealth Prize nomination?

Thistledown Darcie Friesen HossackIf you’re Darcie Friesen Hossack, naturally, you follow one nomination with another–and with an enthusiastic new review!

We’re thrilled to report that Darcie’s Mennonites Don`t Dance (Thistledown Press 2010) is a finalist for the Danuta Gleed Literary Award. The $10,000.00-award, endowed in memory of writer Danuta Gleed and administered by The Writers’ Union of Canada, recognizes outstanding debut collections of English-language short fiction. CBC Books followed up yesterday’s shortlist announcement by highlighting Darcie and her fellow nominees.

This latest nomination follows closely on the glowing review that Mennonites Don’t Dance received from The Winnipeg Review, which praises the way Darcie “beautifully and economically … crafts a silent understanding….”

Hossack writes in such a way that the sounds, smells, and stories nearly come off the page. You can almost smell the rollkuchen, hear the crisp crunch of fresh watermelon, and taste the sweetness of dandelion wine. Her prose is simple but delicate, plain but punchy.

The Winnipeg Review‘s take is available in its entirety online. Selected previous press for Mennonites Don’t Dance is available here and here.

Congratulations, Darcie, on your most recent accolades!

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Celebrate the spring with an HSWLA author reading!

And they say that the fall is publishing’s biggest season!

The next few weeks are proving to be busy ones for HSW Literary Agency authors. In addition to Martin Mordecai‘s Diaspora Dialogues reading on Thursday, May 19, there are a number of scheduled appearances to highlight.

YA Author Richard ScarsbrookFirst up is Richard Scarsbrook, whose story “The Third Ring”  has just received an honourable mention from the judge of the Fish One-Page Prize, at the Four Corners Branch of the Brampton Library.

  • What:Reading and discussion with Richard Scarsbrook.
  • When: Thursday, May 5, 2011 at 10:30 a.m.
  • Where: Brampton Library, Four Corners Branch, 65 Queen Street East, Brampton, ON
  • How: For further details, see the library’s announcement, or contact the library’s youth services coordinator, Surita Dey: or 905-793-4636, ext. 4354.

Less than a week later, on Wednesday, May 11, Richard will be appearing at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre in celebration of the Forest of Reading Festival of Trees. Richard’s latest novel for young adults, The Monkeyface Chronicles, is one of the nominees for the 2011 White Pine Award. Tickets are still available for the 1 p.m. award ceremony at which there will be ample opportunity to visit with Richard and his fellow nominees.

May Lou Zeitoun authorOn Sunday, May 15, Mary Lou Zeitoun, the author of the award-winning novel 13, puts great writing to use in support of the Canadian Palestinian Educational Exchange, a non-governmental organization dedicated to the education of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. Reading along with Mary Lou are Ava Homa and Yasin.

  • What:Benefit for CEPAL, featuring Mary Lou Zeitoun, Ava Homa, and Yasin.
  • When: Sunday, May 15, 2011 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
  • Where: Beit Zatoun, 612 Markham Street, Toronto, ON
  • How: Donations are welcome, and refreshments will be provided. For further details, see the Beit Zatoun website.
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Martin Mordecai: author, mentor and Diaspora Dialogues-contributor

Diaspora Dialoguesauthor Martin MordecaiMartin Mordecai, author of Free (currently on offer) and the much-celebrated middle grade novel Blue Mountain Trouble (Arthur A. Levine Books, 2009), will be busy these next few weeks.

As a contributor to the latest Diaspora Dialogues anthology–TOK: Writing the New Toronto, Book 6–Martin will be appearing at the book’s launch on Wednesday, April 20, 2011, when the ballroom of the historic Gladstone Hotel hosts some of the city’s freshest and most dynamic literary voices.

While fans can meet Martin at the launch, they’ll be able to hear him read at the Diaspora Dialogues event slated for Thursday, May 19, 2011, at Ben McNally Books:

  • What: Diaspora Dialogues readings, including Martin Mordecai.
  • When: Thursday, May 19, 2011 at 6:00 p.m.
  • Where: Ben McNally Books, 366 Bay Street, Toronto, ON

In the meantime, fans of Martin’s writing can read about his experiences as a Diaspora Dialogues writing mentor in his post, “The Physics Yardstick,” to the Diaspora Dialogues blog.

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Lilla Csorgo keeps Toronto reading

Of all the books she’s read in her life, Lilla Csorgo–noted playwright and author of the novel The Janus Affair (on offer)–remembers one more than the others: Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler, which Lilla first read as a teenager. It’s this book that Lilla chose to recommend as part of the Keepin’ It Real Book Club‘s month-long celebration of the Toronto Public Library’s Keep Toronto Reading Festival.

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Allison Baggio keeps Toronto reading

Allison Baggio is as passionate about reading as she is about writing. So when the Keepin’ It Real Book Club asked for video recommendations in celebration of the Toronto Public Library’s Keep Toronto Reading Festival, the Girl In Shades-author happily obliged.

The theme of this year’s festival is “Let books transform you,” and with that in mind, Allison recommends Barbara Gowdy’s We So Seldom Look On Love:

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Meet novelist and foodie Kim Moritsugu!

Moritsugu And Everything Nice Mystery NoveletteKim Moritsugu, one of the agency’s favourite novelist-cum-food aficionados, is helping the Toronto Public Library celebrate its 2011 Keep Toronto Reading Festival with a talk about plotting, food-in-fiction, and And Everything Nice,the fun-and-funny novelette Kim recently published with Orca.

And Everything Nice follows the exploits of twenty-four-year-old Stephanie, who has joined the local rock choir in an attempt to shake up her routine. And with the help of her new friend Anna, shake it she does! From the Orca site:

When Anna’s private journal goes missing, she confides in Stephanie that she feels terribly vulnerable. What if the notebook falls into the wrong hands and her secrets are made public? She hints that such revelations could be devastating to her and other public figures. When a blackmailer demands cash in exchange for the notebook, the two women lay a trap to snare the crook. But will Stephanie use or abuse the information she now has?

To find out what Stephanie’s up to, you’ll have to pick up a copy of And Everything Nice,and to catch up with author Kim, drop by the library on April 20th!

  • What: An evening with Kim Moritsugu
  • When: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 at 6:30 p.m.
  • Where:  Toronto Public Library, Danforth/Coxwell Branch
                    1675 Danforth Ave., Toronto, ON  M4C 5P2
                    Telephone: 416-393-7783
  • Why: To Keep Toronto Reading

For more programming coinciding with the month-long Keep Toronto Reading Festival,  please see the festival’s page.

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Another day, another rave

If your Saturday routine doesn’t include poring over the Globe and Mail with a cup of coffee, you may have missed the review of Darcie Friesen Hossack‘s Commonwealth Prize-nominated Mennonites Don’t Dance.

Darcie Friesen Hossack Mennonite short storiesDarcie is praised for her deft touch and her willingness to take risks. Writing of the story “Ashes,” the Globe reviewer gushes that “the drama is both bloody and admirably understated,” but as “Ice House” shows, Darcie tackles less covert themes and tropes with similar aplomb. “A fresh calf’s heart still pumping on a butcher’s block is the sort of symbol to defeat even veteran storytellers,” the Globe writes. ”Hossack sails through the metaphoric risk, placing the heart at her sleight-of-hand climax–the pulsing object gruesomely mesmerizing, then cascading with retrospective meanings.” Still, the ultimate payoff, according to the Globe review, comes in the collection’s final story, “Poor Nella Pea,” which is “structurally bold, psychologically intricate and finally stunning in its emotional wallop.”

The reviewer’s overall impressions are equally positive:

There’s an unfussy purity of expression here, and of narrative control, that sometimes recalls the short fiction of Alistair MacLeod. Images come cleanly to the mind’s eye while the prose itself recedes. The other MacLeodian element is Hossack’s stealthy way with emotion. She never tells you how to feel. When you do find your heart opening to these characters, it rises from their authenticity, and a sure authorial hand with the interplay of surprise and inevitability.

Earlier reviews–namely, the one published by the Winnipeg Free Press–drew comparisons between Darcie’s work and the writings of fellow Mennonite-Canadian writers, such as Miriam Toews and Patrick Friesen. We’re sure Darcie is just as pleased by this latest parallel.

The full Globe and Mail review of Mennonites Don’t Dance is available online.

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Mary Lou Dickinson at Novel Idea

Mary Lou Dickinson NovelThose of you who are looking ahead to March may want to circle Thursday the 10th on your calendars: Mary Lou Dickinson, author of the acclaimed Ile D’Or (Inanna Publications, May 2010), will read from her novel at Kingston, Ontario’s Novel Idea. Also participating in the reading will be Kingston-area author Elizabeth Greene.

  • What: A reading by Mary Lou Dickinson.
  • When: Thursday, March 10, 2011 at 7:00 p.m.
  • Where:  Novel Idea
                     156 Princess Street, Kingston, ON  K7L 1B1
                     Telephone: 613-546-9799

Mary Lou Dickinson author CanadianWhen the Globe and Mail reviewed Ile D’Or last year, Mary Lou’s astute rendering of “small town angst, infidelities, criminality, simmering racism, classism, the ever-present French-English divide and much more” was praised, and her writing compared with that of Alice Munro and Bonnie Burnard. Come hear Mary Lou Dickinson read from this engrossing novel, and find out why Ile d’Or doesn’t require a shiny gold decal on its cover to indicate that this book is a winner.”

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